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  • Writer's pictureAline Silva | PhishX

What are the risks of WhatsApp in the corporate environment?

Risks are factors inherent to the activities of any organization, whether small, medium or large. Therefore, for a company to be able to progress, it needs to know how to deal with these threats, be able to survive adversity and mitigate risks.

These threats can come from anywhere, whether it's through an email, a statement, or a WhatsApp message.

Many companies in Brazil are facing serious consequences due to the increased use of messaging apps among their employees to deal with work-related matters.

This is because WhatsApp has been growing significantly among companies, and despite offering advantages for people's productivity and collaboration, it worries IT leaders, the legal sector, and the compliance areas of organizations.

Know that the exchange of messages in these applications offers great risks to organizations, especially because it is a resource that is not approved by the company, so anyone can have access to this information and put everyone's data at risk.

How WhatsApp is used in the corporate environment

WhatsApp is one of the most used applications by Brazilians, this is due to its practicality and agility when communicating, whether with a family member or co-worker.

According to a survey conducted by Statista in 2022, Brazil ranks second in the world in the number of accounts on the app, adding up to more than 147 million users in the country.

According to a survey by the consulting firm Croma Insights, WhatsApp is used at work by 60% of respondents, while email is used by only 20% of people.

As harmless as this application may seem, know that its corporate use is an obvious risk for organizations and the people who work in it.

This is because every day more than 500 million conversations between people and companies are recorded on WhatsApp, and due to its ease, documents and confidential information are often exchanged through the application.

It is necessary to understand that WhatsApp is already part of the lives of all professionals, and prohibiting its use will not be as effective. Thus, it is important to understand the risks and, through them, create a culture of awareness.

For this to occur, it is important to determine a path and follow policies that support the conscious use of the application.

In this way, teams are able to mitigate the risks that these new tools bring, understand their pitfalls, and establish balanced and realistic controls for these problems.

Risks generated by the use of WhatsApp in companies

It is important for everyone to understand the risks behind this app. This is the first step to create awareness on the subject and thus create security and control policies.

1. Data protection

As mentioned above, WhatsApp is an application that is beyond the control of the company, so it is not possible to have absolute control of all the people who have access to this application.

For example, if the company has a group, who are the participants? Is there anyone responsible for excluding former employees from these interactions?

Is the person's cell phone for their exclusive use, or do their children and other people have access to the information?

All of these issues need to be considered as they increase the chances of file loss or data leakage. Which makes protecting your organization's information virtually impossible.

Another point that should be paid attention to is related to data protection obligations.

With the implementation of the LGPD (General Data Protection Law), companies need to have legal obligations and map the personal data they have. Therefore, you need to check how the data is stored and accessed.

2. Information Shared

WhatsApp is an app that is mainly used for personal use, due to which work, family, and friends conversations can end up getting mixed up. This way, sensitive information can be accidentally shared.

As a result, some important and sensitive data can be leaked to some person or personal group, which can lead to a series of problems, both for the company and for the person who shared this information.

Imagine that you have a company that deals with your customers' bank data, if any of these people's data falls into the wrong hands, the financial and legal damage will be irreparable.

3. Legal backing

Some organizations use the app to interact with their teams. However, by allowing the use of sensitive information on personal devices, the institution runs some legal risks. This can lead to legal implications or, in some cases, fraud investigations.

4. Risks of attacks

Because it's a personal app, people don't pay as much attention to their conversations and end up clicking on malicious links or falling for scams.

Threats include phishing, ransomware, and invasion of privacy.

In the case of companies, this risk is even greater, as there is an attack called spear-phishing, where the victim is studied and known by criminals, with this they get that person's cell phone number, increasing the chances of success of the attack.

The goal of these attacks is to obtain bank transfers and steal sensitive business files and data.

5. Loss or theft of the device

All conversations, files, or trading history exchanged through the app may disappear in case the phone is stolen or stolen. This implies that third parties can have access to this lost device and thus access all the information.

How to increase security on WhatsApp?

The most important action is to make people aware of the risks involved and the safety prevention measures that must be taken.

It is essential for everyone to understand that security on WhatsApp or any other app, or technology, is not possible without everyone's commitment.

In this way, the company needs to invest in awareness campaigns and show what risks employees and organizations can suffer if a leak occurs.

Acculturation and prevention are arguably the most important steps to solve the problem.

Thus, training people can shape behavior and manage a change in the culture of the entire organization. Therefore, it is important to understand that despite all the monitoring tools, there will always be risks.

Employees can eventually install applications and become shortcuts for cybercriminals to commit attacks, which is why when we talk about information security, the human side must be a priority.

Because it is through people that a process of acculturation is created, which increases awareness of the risks.

You see, the people who work in your organization want to do the right thing, they just need education and training to understand the risks of leaks and how to prevent them.

In addition, it is necessary to create a security policy focused on the company.

By determining it, you can apply the conditions under which applications can and should be used.

This action helps establish what organization information can be shared through these applications.

In this way, this policy helps delineate the corporate and appropriate use of mobile devices and which applications can run on them.

Another important point is the management of mobile devices, organizations need to have control over the devices that have access to confidential information. Only in this way is it possible to establish controls and policy enforcement.

To ensure the security of organizations and their data, it is critical that employees are allowed to use company-issued devices, as these devices are equipped with mobile device management software.

This ensures everyone's safety, so the organization can identify the information shared on these devices and which applications are installed.

This makes it easier to identify potential risks and mitigate them.

How can PhishX help your company mitigate risk?

Know that PhishX is a cybersecurity awareness solution, its goal is to train people so that they can identify and avoid cyber threats and attacks.

Through PhishX's ecosystem, you can access a complete library of content with various information about threats in the digital world and from there create your own awareness campaign.

Our solution is able to initiate an acculturation process and with that, educate people on how they can identify and respond to fraud attempts.

All of this is done through training, testing, and detailed reporting that ensures everyone is engaged.

Through our materials, your organization can create specific campaigns, such as the risks of using WhatsApp, through which you can show everyone who works with you how to identify the risks and avoid them.

In addition to all the training, we have features that help you identify device vulnerabilities and know where your employees access your company's information from.

With this, you have control over the browser that this device usually accesses, which provider, IP, if the computer used is approved or not, if this person is accessing the company's data through the company's personal computer, the company's or someone else's.

This gives you greater control to identify future risks and from this information start the process of raising awareness on this topic.

Get to know the PhishX ecosystem

As you can see throughout the text, risks exist in all institutions and all people are subject to attack, the only way to protect these crimes is through an awareness program.

That's why PhishX is a powerful tool that helps institutions train their employees to identify possible threats, whether in email, SMS or WhatsApp.

By implementing this system, your company can educate your employees and significantly reduce information security risks.

Understand that maintaining your organization's data security is a necessity. Get in touch with our sales team and learn about our solutions.

Woman's hands using smartphone
WhatsApp poses a series of risks to your organization

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